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Work and Pensions written question – answered on 11th June 2009.

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Photo of Linda Gilroy Linda Gilroy Labour, Plymouth, Sutton

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many pensioners in Plymouth are estimated to have received a (a) free bus pass, (b) free television licence and (c) free eye test.

Photo of Angela Eagle Angela Eagle The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, Member, Labour Party National Executive Committee

The information is as follows:

(a) As part of the implementation of the new England-wide concession, which guarantees older and eligible disabled people free off peak travel on local buses anywhere in England, all concessionary passes are now issued as smartcards to a new standard design. Local authorities are responsible for issuing passes, and so central Government does not maintain records of how many individual authorities have issued, though we do know that around 8 million passes have now been issued in total across England.

The latest information held by the Department for Transport was that, as of 7 April 2008, Plymouth city council had submitted approximately 36,419 applications for the new smartcard concessionary passes to their pass supplier. This includes applications from disabled people as well as those aged 60 and over.

(b) TV Licensing, which administers free television licences for people aged 75 or over as agents for the BBC, can provide breakdown only by postcode. However, according to the records of the Department for Work and Pensions the number of households with at least one person aged 75 or over claiming the winter fuel payment in the Plymouth Devonport and Plymouth Sutton constituencies in 2007-08 was 13,950. Figures for 2008-09 are still being compiled.

(c) The number of NHS-funded sight tests for those aged 60 and over in the Plymouth area during 2007-08 was 29,696.

2007-08 is the latest full year for which information is available. Information for 2008-09 is expected to be published by the NHS Information Centre in August 2009.

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